Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Uhuru Kenyatta’s Leadership Appraisal

Its official, Uhuru Kenyatta is now a political IDP. Last week, KANU held its long awaited National Delegates Conference (NDC) which was convened amidst controversy in a desperate bid to puts its house in order and save the independence party from imminent deregistration on account of failing to comply with the new law on political parties. The Deputy Premier Uhuru Kenyatta, who was hitherto the party’s chairman, snubbed the conference alleging that it was not convened procedurally but be that as it may, the NDC was well-attended and duly transacted its business and as was expected, its immediate former chairman was ousted in absentia rendering him a political IDP.

It is undeniable that the independence party has completely lost its former glory and Uhuru’s failed leadership is responsible for the sorry state the party is in today. The party’s never-ending leadership wrangles had gotten in the way of its compliance with the new law on political parties –a situation that was threatening to have the party deregistered. In view of the foregoing, the Deputy Premier simply had to be replaced. It is expected that the latest political IDP will become a squatter in Mr. Kiraitu Murungi’s ‘political bus’ although there are rumours he is putting together a makeshift political house. Incidentally, his comrade William Ruto has suffered similar fate; becoming a squatter in UDM and eventually being kicked out to form a makeshift political house –URP.

The inexorable ouster of Uhuru from the chairmanship of KANU has not only seen his political fortunes dwindle; it raises serious questions on the Deputy Premier’s entrepreneurial, political, and leadership skills. Seven years ago, the son of Jomo Kenyatta who born with a silver spoon in his mouth was handed over KANU’s reins of power on a silver platter but sadly, he has nothing to show for it seven years down the line. He is worse than the proverbial servant who was given one talent and dug it underground instead of depositing it in a bank to earn interest or trading with it to earn more like the other servant who was given two talents and the other who was given five talents. Like the prodigal son, he has squandered everything!

The sheer incompetence and lack of imagination on the part of Uhuru Kenyatta is evidenced by his inability to reinvent the grand old independence party and steer it to greater heights is a serious indictment on the blue-eyed boy’s ability to handle the complexities of government in this new dispensation.

The overwhelming defeat that KANU suffered in the 2002 general elections was irrefutable proof that the party needed reinvention and fresh blood. Providentially, Uhuru Kenyatta, the Young Turk from Gatundu, had just been installed as the party’s new chairman and the onus was on him to reinvent the party and steer it to greater heights.

Regrettably, Uhuru has been ineffective even irrelevant and instead of reinventing KANU and selling it as the new KANU, the way Tony Blair reinvented the Labour party and marketed it as the New Labour, the leader of official opposition became a sell-out in the 2007 general elections by supporting the incumbent, President Mwai Kibaki even though his support could not secure a sure victory in the ill-fated general elections.

The easy-peasy ouster of Uhuru as KANU chairman and the flimsy excuse he gave for not contesting his chairmanship was most revealing. For starters, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that Uhuru’s political clout is vastly overrated. If indeed he had the kind of political clout he is thought to have, it would not have not been that easy to oust him from party leadership in KANU. Can you imagine Musaliya Mudavadi or someone else ousting the Premier Raila Odinga from ODM party leaderhip? Impossible! Uhuru was ousted way too easily revealing how feeble he is politically and disproving the widely held notion that he is an astute politician. Those who doubt the accuracy of opinion polls on Uhuru’s popularity need not look any further. His ouster from KANU chairmanship is irrefutable evidence that the Deputy Premier is not as popular as he and his largely ethnocentric supporters think he is.

Apparently, Uhuru thinks that KANU is a regional party and not a national party. Intriguing huh? I can only presume that the region in question is rift valley and the Kalenjin people in particular. If indeed KANU is the regional outfit he alleges then two things are clear. One, Uhuru has very little support beyond the Gema community which for all intents and purposes is fascinated by the bizarre quest for dynastic leadership and two, there is no love lost between the Kalenjin and Kikuyu people.

This being the case, Uhuru had a great opportunity of working with KANU and his comrade Ruto to heal the rift between their communities but he wasted it. Instead he has courted disaster by reviving Gema depicting poor judgement. Ruto has since retaliated by reviving Kamatusa -Gema’s rival tribal cabal.  The way I see it, Uhuru’s ouster from KANU leadership and consequent replacement by Gideon Moi is just but a foretaste of the things to come in the fierce struggle for power that is steadily gathering momentum.

Voters are not fools. Certainly, many individual voters make odd political choices but the vast majority are rational and responsible and in the unlikely event Uhuru vies the presidency, his history of failed leadership will be his undoing.

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